Welfare: Care of elderly seen as state duty

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The Independent Online
The Government should retain a major role in financing care of the elderly, according to a new national survey.

Most people are realistic about the likelihood of needing care in old age, whether in their own home or in a residential or nursing home the Economic and Social Research Council found. But there is a limit to their willingness to take responsibility for their own care - particularly financial responsibility.

Most of the people the ESRC questioned believed that the state should pay at least the basic care costs and few were willing to use capital tied up in their home to pay for care. Private long-term care insurance schemes were considered unattractive, with only 6 per cent of the people questioned saying they would take them up. Two-thirds of those questioned said they were dissatisfied with the present means-tested system of state support, said the study, which involved almost 1,000 men and women.

A system based on partnership - in which the Government allows an individual to keep assets provided private insurers cover part of the costs of care - was a more popular option. But even here, only half were enthusiastic about this way of paying for their care.

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